Double Feature at IMAX

New deals for IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX  ) installations are coming so quickly, that the cinematic superstar is now announcing them two at a time.

A pair of press releases yesterday details IMAX's growing global appeal. The first deal is a stateside one, as IMAX will be teaming up with Rave -- the country's fifth largest exhibitor -- to open 13 digital systems between now and next year.

Korea's leading exhibitor also inked a joint-venture partnership yesterday, with plans to open 15 IMAX screens in China. It's IMAX's largest theater deal in Asia.

IMAX has signed deals for 168 installations this year, a far cry from the 35 system signings through all of last year. Even the 28 screens that were tossed yesterday into the company's growing backlog of future orders rival the total 2009 singings.

Exhibitors are turning to enhancing theatrical experiences to justify premiums. It's the obvious way to make the most of flattish attendance trends, without having to jack up the already insanely priced concessions even higher.

The move to offer moviegoers more bang for their celluloid buck has helped IMAX, sound specialist Dolby (NYSE: DLB  ) , and 3-D licensing leader RealD (NYSE: RLD  ) .

Theater operators don't have much of a choice. Digitally distributed piracy, narrowing release windows, and beefed up home theater systems find multiplex owners scrambling to up their game.

It doesn't end here. IMAX joined nanotechnology incubator Harris & Harris (Nasdaq: TINY  ) and several other investors in funding a financing round by Laser Light Engines today. IMAX is already a strategic partner with the company, working on a lighting system that is far brighter than the Xenon bulb traditionally used in 3-D projections.

Yes, even today's 3-D screenings -- blown up on IMAX -- isn't enough. Best Buy (NYSE: BBY  ) has been advertising 3-D flat screens heading into the critical holiday season. IMAX has some skin in that game, teaming up with Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) and Discovery (Nasdaq: DISCK  ) on a digital 3-D cable channel, but exhibitors will need to invest in making sure that their product is several steps ahead of what couch potatoes are getting.

IMAX, for one, is certainly moving pretty fast these days. After inking deals for 28 new systems yesterday, who knows what tomorrow will bring.

Would you be willing to pay an IMAX premium to see a movie? Please share your perspective in the comment box below.

Best Buy is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. IMAX and Harris & Harris Group are Motley Fool Rule Breakers picks. Best Buy and Dolby Laboratories are Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendations. Motley Fool Options has recommended buying calls on Best Buy. The Fool owns shares of Best Buy. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz is a movie buff, but doesn't own shares in any of the stocks in this story. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early. The Fool has a disclosure policy.


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  • Report this Comment On September 21, 2010, at 6:14 PM, brs975 wrote:

    15 whole screen for all of China - that should cover the market [1B+ people]. They are just peppering the news wires with 2 in the UK and a few in Asia..."New deals for IMAX (Nasdaq: IMAX) installations are coming so quickly, that the cinematic superstar is now announcing them two at a time" Do you own Dec 2010 calls on the stock?

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